Hudson Center School circa 1909
Also known as the school on Kimball Hill Road. I attended this two-room school house for five years. Grades 1-3 with Mrs. Marguarite Gilman and grades 4 and 5 with Miss Florence Parker. After that the 6th grade at Webster then off to Alvirne!!
After the D.O. Smith School on Windham Road was destroyed by fire, the school district voted to build a new school of similar size. The sum of $900 plus the amount received from insurance was allocated for this purpose. A conscious decision was made to not re-build on the Windham Road location. The Hudson Center School, a two room house, was built on the east side of Pelham Road (now Kimball Hill Road) just a short distance from Hudson Center. This school remained in use until 1956 when it was closed. The students were combined with the classes at Webster School. Of the two teachers: Florence Parker became a reading supervisor and Mrs. Marguerite Gilman taught a second grade. This building remains today and is privately owned. Photo from Historical Society Collection.
Greeley Street Crossing Looking West
The steam railroad crossed the Merrimack River into Hudson just south of what is now Veterans Memorial Bridge as you cross from Nashua into Hudson. It then made a path easterly and slightly north through Hudson. The tracks crossed Lowell Road at Central Street and then on to Hudson Center and West Windham. The one railroad station in town was at Hudson Center just off Greeley Street and behind the Town Hall (now Wattannick Hall). In this 1896 photo we are standing on the tracks near the station looking west along the tracks and the Greeley Street crossing. The corner of the station house can just be seen in the right of the photo. Greeley Street is a narrow dirt road and the area on the opposite side of Greeley appears as a wooded area or field. Today there are few reminders of the railroad bed. The area on the left is now the parking lot of the Baptist Church and the area on the right is the Greeley Street playground. Photo from the Society collection and courtesy of Len Lathrop.
Hudson’s Busy Railroad Station
Here we see Hudson’s railroad station in it;s original position slightly off Greeley Street and behind the Town Hall (now Wattannick Hall). This station was used as a dwelling and later moved onto the Benson’s property. After many years of no use the station exterior has been restored and can be seen just inside the entrance to Bensons Park.
In this 1896 photo, we are looking east from the Greeley Street crossing at the Hudson Center Station (left) and the rear of the Town Hall (now Wattannick Hall) on the right. From this point the tracks are headed towards the crossing at Windham Road, on to the crossing at Clement Road and then to West Windham. A Post Office was established in this station in 1876 and Eli Hamblet was the Postmaster; a position he held until his death in 1896. It was at this station that animals and patrons arrived to go to Benson’s. Animals were shipped here and some were walked along the road to the farm. The Jungle Train from Boston brought people on excursions. There was a freight house (center right) and siding for handling goods. At the height of railroad traffic there were as many as 13 passenger trains plus freight activity each day on this line. Considering a single track line, this made for a very busy and dangerous section of the line. The railroad station was later made into a dwelling, but when it was no longer in use it was moved to Benson Park and can still be seen there. Photograph from the Historical Society Collection.
Town House Hudson Center
This Town House was the second building on this site. The first was the North Meeting House used by the Presbyterians as early as 1771; later shared with the Baptists. By 1811 ownership of the land and buildings were conveyed to the Baptist Society. The pews were not involved in the transaction as they were privately owned. After the Baptist Meeting House was built in 1841 this property was transferred to the Town of Hudson.
In 1857 Hudson contracted with William Anderson of Windham to erect this Town House on the site of the Old North Meeting House in Hudson Center. The North Meeting House was deeded to the town by the Baptist Society after The Baptist Church was completed in 1841. Town meetings were held here until the mid 1930’s when there was a desire among the town people to hold meetings at the bridge area. Wattannick Grange held their meetings here from its organization. In 1963 the town authorized the sale of the building to Wattannick Grange. To the right of the Town House is Harvey Lewis’ Coal Grain and Grocery; on the left and rear is the B&M Railroad Depot. Today, now that Hudson and Wattannick Granges have merged, this building is known as Wattannick Hall the home of Hudson Grange No 11. Photo from the Historical Society collection.
As we continue to revisit the homes around the Hudson Center Common we come to the home of Reuben Greeley. One of the more influential families in Nottingham West (now Hudson) was that of Moses Greeley. Reuben (born 1794) was the oldest son of Moses and his second wife Mary Derby.
Baptist Parsonage C1980
Historians date this house to about 1790 when it, and much of Hudson Center, was a part of the farm of Henry Hale. This became the home of Reuben Greeley about the time of his marriage to Joanna Merrill in 1817. From that time until 1962 this home was occupied by Reuben or a member of his family. After Reuben’s death in 1863 his son Daniel continued to live here with his wife, Joanna, and daughter Edwina. Edwina married John Wentworth and in time ownership was passed to their son Nathaniel. Nathaniel married Jesse Gilbert of Windham who resided here until her death in 1962; after which the Baptist Church purchased and remodeled the home to be used as a parsonage for their pastor and family. The parsonage has been located here at 234 Central Street some 53 years. In this c1980 photo church members are washing windows and cleaning exterior of the parsonage. Photo courtesy of Hudson Baptist Church.
Henry Brown House C 1895
This home was located on Kimball Hill Road adjacent to the Tenny Tomb where members of the Tenny family are laid to rest. Being a part of Benson’s Wild Animal Farm the site was owned by the State of New Hampshire. This home was demolished by the state prior the purchase of Benson Park by the town of Hudson.
This house was a landmark in Hudson Center for many years; standing at Kimball Hill Road opposite the Hudson Center Common and directly across from the front steps of the Baptist Church. The first occupant was Dr. Paul Tenny who moved to town about 1791 and later settled here. The property was sold to Dr James Emery in 1849. When Dr. Emery retired it was purchased by Henry C. Brown; in 1935 it was purchased by John T. Benson and became part of the Benson’s Wild Animal Farm property. Vera Lovejoy and her family lived here while she was managing the Benson Farm. This c1895 photo shows, left to right, Henry C. Brown; Ina Louise Brown, daughter; Clara Bryant Brown, his wife; and John and Eliza Brown the adoptive parents of Henry. Photo from the Historical Society Collection.
Our next stop on our revisit to Hudson Center is at the home of Eli Hamblet. Eli and Benjamin Dean were neighbors, both homes facing the common on the east side. The Historical Society is fortunate to have three original documents written by Eli; a work ledger for years 1840 to 1878; his 1855 and 1857 diaries; and a manuscript detailing Hudson’s contributions to the Civil War. This was kept by Eli during his tenure as Town Clerk.
Born in 1810 to Tamar and Thomas Hamblet, Eli lived most, if not all, of his adult life in Hudson Center. Eli’s home and farm was located on Hamblet Avenue facing the Hudson Center Common on the east side. This house was previously owned by John Foster who operated a grocery store there for about 19 years. Eli married Rebecca Butler of Pelham in 1844. Their daughters Rebecca Souvina and Arvilla continued to reside in the house after Eli’s death in 1896. In addition to farming, Eli served his town in many ways; town clerk, selectman, overseer of the poor, and representative to the general court. He was one of the organizers of the Hudson Center Library and he acted as the librarian when this small library was housed in his home. He was a member and Deacon of the Baptist Church. In 1876, when the Hudson Center Post Office was established at the Railroad Station behind the Town Hall, he was appointed postmaster. He held this office until his death in 1896. Eli’s entire family, including his parents, are buried in Westview Cemetery. This house was the home of Robert Thompson, Sr and his family for many years. After being vacant for an extended time it was demolished a few years ago.
Benjamin Dean House on Hamblet Avenue C 1942
Continuing to revisit Hudson Center we stop at the Benjamin Dean House. This 270 plus year old house is among the oldest, if not the oldest house in Hudson. But I can state for certain that it is the ‘best traveled’ house in town. For the first 91 years this house was located on Bush Hill Road as part of the Haselton Farm. In 1838 the home was moved to Hamblet Avenue and remodeled by the owner, Rev. Benjamin Dean. Here it remained for another 126 years until moving a second time about 1964 to it’s location on Windham Road.
This house was built by Abraham Page about 1747 on Bush Hill Road on part of the old Haselton Farm. Between 1747 and about 1838 this house was likely occupied by Abraham Page, Jr and early members of the Haselton family whom he helped to raise. In 1838 the owner, Rev. Benjamin Dean, moved and remodeled the house to a location on Hamblet Avenue just north of the Eli Hamblet house and facing the east side of the Hudson Center Common. The second floor contained a large room with an arched ceiling, referred to as “Dean’s Hall”. This room was used as a school and a place for public gatherings. Rev. Dean occupied the home until about 1850. The home had various owners until being purchased by the family of Claudia and Richard Boucher. In the early 1960’s when the State of New Hampshire planned out the new route 111 through Hudson Center, this house was simply ‘in the way’. The Boucher family sold the property to the state and later re-purchased the house and had it moved to its present (and third) location on Windham Road. This 1942 photo from the Historical Society Collection shows the house at its second location on Hamblet Avenue.